VANCOUVER — Forward Andrei Kuzmenko has signed a two-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks with an average annual value of US$5.5 million.
The 26-year-old Kuzmenko has played in 47 games for the Canucks this season with 21 goals and 22 assists, four penalty minutes and a plus-4 defensive ranking.
"Andrei is a player we worked extremely hard to recruit last summer," said Vancouver general manager Patrik Allvin. "He has been an excellent fit for our forward group this season, transitioning very well to the North American style of play.
"His passion and enthusiasm for the game has made a positive impact in the dressing room among his teammates and we are excited to watch him continue his career with the Vancouver Canucks."
The five-foot-11, 194-pound forward ranks second on the team in goals and power-play goals (nine) this season.
His 43 points are also tied for third on the team in overall scoring, while his 32 even-strength points (12 goals, 20 assists) are second on the Canucks.
Kuzmenko leads all Vancouver skaters in shooting percentage (24.7 per cent) and ranks third in the NHL in that category (min. 20 GP).
He leads all first-year NHLers in almost every offensive category, including goals, assists, points, points per game (0.91), power-play goals, and power-play points.
He has also produced 14 multi-point games so far this season (second-most on the Canucks), highlighted by his first-career NHL hat-trick and season-high four-point game against Anaheim on Nov. 3.
A native of Yakutsk, Russia, Kuzmenko spent his first eight professional seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg, registering 200 points (85-115-200) in 315 regular season games. He set career-highs in goals (20), assists (33), and points (53) last season, ranking second in the league in scoring.
Kuzmenko has also represented his country on the international stage on multiple occasions, totalling 16 points (10-6-16) and six penalty minutes in 37 games played. He was originally signed by Vancouver to a one-year, entry-level contract on July 13, 2022.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023.